The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has said on Friday that it would be forced to discontinue the scheduled June 29 Nkhata Bay Central by-election should the issue about the four fired commissioners not be sorted soon enough.
MEC chairperson, Justice Chifundo Kachale, said the deposing of the commissioners—Jean Mathanga, Linda Kunje, Arthur Nanthulu and Steve Duwa—has put them in a fix as far as managing the affairs of the commission is concerned.
With the four out, it means the Commission only has three, a situation that makes it difficult for MEC to make any decision—as per requirement by the law.
“The by-elections set for the 29th June, 2021 will have to be considered suspended until the Commission is legally constituted,” reads a statement by Kachale, which Nyasa Times has seen.
In the statement, Kachali said the implication of the court ruling to have the four fired is that the remaining members of the commission no longer have the authority to make binding decisions.
It said: “[Also the remaining members no longer have the authority to make] resolutions or determinations based on the electoral commission’s constitution and statutory mandate as they are less than the minimum number of commissioners required by law.”
Last Wednesday, Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda, ruled that the four were not duly appointed by former president, Peter Mutharika, and that the appointing authority should submit names of their replacements within 7 days from June 2, 2021.
The ruling came after the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), through secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka, sued President Lazarus Chakwera on the legality of some of the commissioners.
Kachali said the authority they had at the moment as regards preparations of the by-elections was derived from the resolutions the Commission had already made.
MEC will be holding a by-election in Nkhata Bay Central after the court had nullified the May 21 parliamentary election for the constituency, citing irregularities.
Ralph Mhone of People’s Party (PP), who is receiving Tonse Alliance support, is challenging Democratic Progressive Party (DPP’s) Symon Vuwa Kaunda who in the earlier election had been declared with a three-vote difference.
Kaunda last week filed with the African Court on Human Rights and People’s Rights in Tanzania, seeking review of the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to nullify his election.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :